Manager and attorney Steve Kurtz, who developed Christina Aguilera’s career before an acrimonious split with the singer, died Dec. 27 in New York of metastatic kidney cancer. He was 48.
Born into a showbiz family — his father was a manager and theatrical producer, his grandfather a songwriter — Kurtz began working with Aguilera when she was 17. He negotiated the vocalist’s contract with BMG and represented her during his climb to fame.
Kurtz’s relationship with Aguilera ended in 2000 after the singer split with the manager and sued him, alleging fraud. Aguilera was subsequently handled by Irving Azoff.
Kurtz also represented dance music performers Kim Sozzi, Tina Novak and Jenn Cuneta, classical performer Sasha Lazard and ’60s pop singer Lou Christie.
In addition he worked with brands and entertainment companies including BMG and Mattel. He devised and executed national marketing campaigns, negotiated endorsement and sponsorship agreements for Coca Cola, Clorox, Levi’s, Proctor & Gamble, Bulgari
and Sears for many of the musical talents with whom he worked.
Kurtz is survived by his wife Alison, children Max and Leo, sister Susie and his parents Normand and Marjorie Kurtz.
The family is establishing an endowment fund in Kurtz’s name at Dartmouth College. The fund will provide support for undergraduates studying in Dartmouth’s music department. To contribute to this endowment, contact Normand Kurtz, NKurtz1@gmail.com.